Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Should Have Worn Ruby Slippers

Beniteau, Maple, Simpson, Millard, Chatsworth, Ferris, Farnum, Bedford Sq., Woodingham, Mildred, Stellma, Woodelm, Ravine Terrace.

Those are the names of every street I have lived on.

Thirteen houses, and I'm not quite home.

When I was growing up, my father "flipped houses" before the idea or term was ever coined. Although he made money doing so, his purpose was more for therapy. He enjoyed buying homes that needed fixing up and remodeling. Once the project was done and my mother was just beginning to decorate, off we'd go again.

I remember him telling me it wasn't good to ever pay a house off because at the end of the term, the price paid was way more than it was ever worth. "The real estate investment should be a stepping stone onto the next house, building equity as you go." I wish I didn't listen to him.

I've flipped a few homes in the past ten years but not because of my father's philosophy, my reason is a whole separate post in itself! I did pretty well with each new house.

My current house is what it is, a house I was going to sell as soon as my youngest graduated from high school. It would grow to have a pretty good nest egg in equity.

Screeeeeeeeeeetch, not so fast. The year I was to sell, the bubble burst. So now, here I sit. Still, it's not bad, it's just not where I wanted to be.

This final house was going to be a "quick sell", a nice little starter home for a young couple. Although it now has 4 bedrooms and three full baths, if I count the finished basement, it's still smaller than a few of my previous homes. It definitely lacks character and charm. With the idea to sell in a short time, I saw no reason to put much into personalizing it.

Hindsight ....

Thanks to FaceBook, I've reconnected with many old friends. As I look at their photos and see how their lives unfolded and how their families grew throughout the years, I realize the importance of a "home".

The "homes" I created were for the moment. As I flip through my old photos, the great memories have been captured, but in reality, they aren't relived day to day as I walk through my current house.

If I had raised my children in one house, I would now be able to go room by room and experience the giggles and laughter that a photograph can't quite possess. I'd have nicks on the woodwork that told stories only a mom could recall. I'd have the kids bedrooms to sit in and remember their little faces and the mischief they created.

I know home is where the heart it, or where you hang your hat, but anyone can own a house, only love and memories make it a home.


Sherry said...

This is hitting home for me today. We handed over the keys to my MIL's house (and ran to the bank with the cheque!). It was the home my husband grew up in before we married. It was the house my MIL called home for nearly 55 years. I thought this house we live in would be a starter and then we'd move on and we're still here. There is a lot to be said for the memories you make. I'm now looking at downsizing in a couple of years once the kids are into their own lives "for real".

Nancy said...

Well congratulations on the sale ... bitter sweet.

I think I've been more of a gypsy my whole life. Maybe one more house and I'll be home ;)

John D. said...

Well, when you move to that next home, I think you should rename your blog Wanda Woodingham. She sounds rich.

Nancy said...

John: or Wilma Woodelm, sounds hillbilly poor!

Things That Make Me Happy said...

Ah, Marie, this post hit "home" with me on many levels too. We just visited a home here in Vinsetta, which remained vacant for a while and is now undergoing renovation by a guy who flips houses. (Thank goodness, someone is rescuing it!)

I get very attached to my homes; we've owned three here in Royal Oak and I still ride my bike past the first two, which are containers of memories of our early years as a family ... bittersweet, yes! Like Sherry said, we're thinking about downsizing too, and it breaks my heart to imagine leaving the home we're in now!

Can't wait to hear about your new home... And three cheers for a great post!

Angel said...

this hit me, just as it has all the others before me.

I am living in the house that I grew up in. My great grandparents built this house in 1911. yup, this piece of crap is 100 yrs old this year.

All I do is complain about it to anyone who will listen. And I can't wait to move out of a "nice" home. but there is a wall in the basement where all my kids have stood, and I've measured their growth. all the marks, all the initials and the years are marked.

I think I'll cut that part out and take it with me when I leave. and I WILL leave.